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Canadian Parliament

Parliament Hill at night

Changing of the guard on Parliament Hill

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Ottawa: Canada’s capital city






    • Exploring Ottawa’s government buildings
    • Arts and culture
    • Canadian souvenir shopping
    • A day on the canal
    • Microbrew pub tour



      Once labeled as the roughest city in North America, Ottawa is now a genteel city full of classic buildings, an incredibly extensive park network, dozens of great hotels and of course Canada’s centre of Government. Because it is the capital of the country, it is full of great museums and has some of the most spectacular festivals in the country. It also has many regular events like the changing of the guard at the Parliament buildings. The Rideau Canal runs through Ottawa and continues south all the way to Kingston on the shores of Lake Ontario. Now a UNESCO World Heritage site, the canal is the centre piece for many of the city's festivals – in particular during Winterlude, when it becomes the world’s longest skating rink. Indeed it is used all winter for skating, and many residents commute to work on skates in the winter months, but during Winterlude it is also filled with music, sculptures and thousands of people.


      The oldest section of the city is centred around the Byward Market – a great shopping destination for those looking for something uniquely Canadian. Some of Ottawa’s best restaurants are located here, such as The Black Tomato. The market itself has never shut since it first opened over a hundred years ago – but the products have changed. Besides regular food items, there are now also many special designers, boutiques and artisans at the market.


      It is possible to visit the Canadian Mint (reservations recommended if you want to tour the facilities), and to see where the Prime Minister of Canada and the Governor General of Canada live. There are dozens of world class museums and tours for every type of traveler. You can also visit the Parliament Buildings and be sure to check out the list of festivals happening in Ottawa.